GARY D. ROBERTSON
RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- More trouble in North Carolina budget negotiations after senators left the room when the House brought in local school leaders to speak to bolster its position to preserve funds for teacher assistants.
House budget-writers called Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Heath Morrison during a public negotiating session Wednesday morning. But chief Senate negotiator Harry Brown said the two chambers had not agreed to allow outside speakers, and he and other Senate Republicans walked out.
Senators returned later as the House's speakers concluded and presided over the joint Senate-House meeting.
The Senate proposal would eliminate funding for more than 7,000 assistants in second and third grades. The House keeps the funds. The Senate wants to spend unused teacher assistant money on higher teacher pay raises than the House offered.
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